Engagement: DDSB Community Contributes During COVID-19

Posted On Monday July 27, 2020
Students showing off their hand-drawn scrub cap and headband designs
L-R: Beaverton PS students Ellie, Borden, and Marley show off their hand-drawn scrub cap and headband designs.

Staff and students across the Board lend a hand in their communities

Marley (Grade 8), Ellie (Grade 6), and their brother Borden (Grade 4) are students at Beaverton Public School. They kept busy during the province-wide school closure by adding hand-drawn colourful and creative designs to otherwise plain scrub caps and headbands for frontline workers.

“The fabric comes in pieces and when we’re done adding our designs, then we give the pieces back to Sandra Wasiluk, who sews them for Brock Sews. Each one of the scrub caps are unique and not one design has been the same,” explains Shawna, mother of Marley, Ellie, and Borden.

Brock Sews is a community group based in Beaverton that began sewing scrub caps, headbands, and masks for frontline workers when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Organized and founded by Lore Grant, the group has members from across the GTA pitching in with designing, sewing and more.

In June, the kids were working on their fourth batch of scrub caps and headbands, totalling 48 pieces at the time, with no plans of slowing down.

“I really enjoy art and I like helping others. People are struggling and this is a little way we can help them make it through the tough times,” says Marley. Ellie adds, “No matter what I draw, I know it makes a difference for someone on the frontline.”

Borden concludes, “I like helping people and making them smile.”

Creativity in iSEWlation

Valerie Hodowanski has been a family studies/social sciences and humanities teacher in the DDSB for 20 years. Most of that time has been spent teaching sewing and fashion, and currently she’s teaching at Brooklin High School.

Since the school closed in March, she’s been using the phrase “social iSEWlation ideas” in her Grade 10 and 11 fashion class. She explains, “I use this phrase to encourage my students to use the skills they learn in class for at-home projects.”

One of those at-home projects has been making masks for community members.

“In late March, several students contacted me to proudly share that they were using the sewing skills they learned in my class to make and donate masks for friends, families and community organizations. It was at that time, that I finalized my selection of mask patterns and designs and began to share my work,” says Hodowanski.

So far, she’s designed and sewn approximately 200 cotton masks for family, friends, and anyone who has contacted her for masks via social media. The masks are made in a variety of sizes for men, women, teens, and kids. On social media Hodowanski is sharing instructions on choosing patterns, and how to sew for all skill levels: super easy (hand sewing), easy (anyone with a sewing machine can complete), and advanced (for those with more sewing expertise).

Hodowanski is also sharing mask sewing ‘how-to’ videos with step-by-step instructions on the D2L digital learning platform for her students to access.

She adds, “Within our new learning context, I have been amazed that the basic skills taught in my subject area are more relevant than ever. Cooking and baking have become an every-day occurrence in homes again and sewing skills and access to mask-making supplies are in high demand. I am so proud of the work my students have done and the dedication they have shown to their education during this difficult time.”

Check out Hodowanski’s guide to DIY mask making here https://bit.ly/305Mim0 and be sure to follow her on Instagram @brooklinhsfashion and Twitter @BrooklinFashion.